Thursday, October 4, 2012

Water is Life 50k 2012 Lunatics Running Wild on the Mesa

This was something that I had always wanted to do for many years. We are forgetting our Hopi values. We are forgetting to help each other’s out. I want to see that effort return to our community. Putting Hopi life values and teaching at the forefront is the purpose of the run. Why are we taught to run early in the morning? Because running not only strengthens you physically, it strengthens you spiritually. A runner would take one of the many foot trails from the village in the early morning to a spring, take a drink from the spring and sprinkle himself with the cold water. This gave that person strength and provided healing for any ailments. Everything at Hopi involves water—water is life. Now, water is being abused and is depleting. In some places, it is gone and I want to bring awareness to the people.”
Bucky Preston 
(Race Director and activist for the Hopi people)

Yep I know same picture as last year But well I think it's a good picture and I'm too lazy too draw another 

At the same time my blog posts seem to be getting longer  I  have been procrastinating more and more in writing them, so in an effort to make it a wee bit shorter I'm gonna let the pictures tell the story .
(albeit with some crappy grammar sprinkled in between)
 I flew out to Phoenix where I met up with Barefoot Ted and Bookis Smuin and were picked up by La Mariposa (Maria Walton). Upon arrival it was pouring rain?

After a quick stop at P.F Changs (Maria's restaurant) we were on the road to Northern AZ
 Although are bellies had already filled up on fancy Chinese cuisine how could we say no to a little sweet corn?
 Maria Is part Apache out here her spirit seems too glow.
 Ted don't need no free pasta dinner, he got himself a melon.  Me "that sure is a pretty nice  melon."  Ted "Pat, Stay away from my melon."
 It was good to be in another nation for a few days
Good luck Brookis?
By the time dinner rolled around the skies had begun to clear up
While others Carbo loaded?
I claimed Ted's Melon as my own
It was great to see fellow Mas Loco's Carlos and Kermit
Also at the event was my Savior from Mexico Pat Muldowney.  Not only did this dude bring me Stone Ale to Urique he also brought a cooler full of IPA to the Polacca 
If ever I have been in debt to a dude it would be him and I can't wait to pay him back one day
Race Morning we were joined by another of my favorite people and fellow Mas Loco Jess Soco
I think they look better without the glow in the dark dork standing between them

Within minutes of taking this ic the race was about to start.  I still had to poop and the bathroom line had 15 people in line. I ended up holding it till after the race in case you were wondering
 (you sick bastard)
What sandals Should I wear?
It's pretty ridiculous how many pairs of sandals I have!  At least they pack small.  It wasn't until race morning that I actually decided.

Last year I had wore the Luna LedCat in very Muddy conditions and I felt it was a little more sandal than this course would require this year.
 laced traditionally with a experimental lace made from the plugged ribbon that goes between the toes on ATS system
(The most comfortable and secure fit I have ever worn)
Please Let Luna know if you might want this option in the future.

 I guess this supposed to be race report  so here it goes.

I went out fast feeling strong. It was early in the morning and the air was crisp.  I was running alone out in front for the first few miles  coasting at around a 6 min pace the terrain was sandy but firm and I felt pretty good.

As the terrain softened to feel more like the soft sand I run on at the beach I wished I was barefoot.  My pace slowed and few dudes jumped out in front of me.  All week long I had been looking forward to the soft sand it is my favorite surface to run on.
Be careful for what you wish for!  Training on the beach I rarely run fast, 10 to 15 mile runs, on flat ground  at pace between 10 and 13 mins a mile are my bread and butter.  That kind of speed would be unacceptable in a race this short.  Maybe I should of done few fast training runs but honestly my training is more for pleasure than progress as a racer.

 It doesn't get more fun that running down a soft sand hill. I will never get tired of bounding down hill like a little kid.  You can't help but smile taking giant steps flying down the side of a mountain landing on the ground with almost no impact.

 climbing uphill in soft sand is about the most grueling terrain I could imagine.  Last year when the course was covered in mud is was surprisingly easier than what I was now enduring.

Early in the race we had the privilege to run through the oldest continuously inhabited city inside the U.S.A.. . The Mesa city of Walpi .  It was pretty amazing running down the stairs off the Mesa thinking about the Native Americans that had ran on these same stones for the past 900 or so years.

As the run progressed I was  focused on speed and to worriedabout how I would finish to really enjoy the moment I was in.  This event really is not about who comes in first. It's purpose is too bring people together and raise awareness to the water problem the Hopi people are currently enduring.  I was running  through sacred land where each step should be a prayer  for water and yet all I could think about was what place I was in.

I needed too change my attitude ASAP
Around Mile 18 I decided to stop racing and start running.   I stopped to dunk my head in sacred spring and I thought about my friend Caballo Blanco whom I ran this race with last year.   I took a moment to realize how lucky I am to be healthy and running on such beautiful trails.  I then began to run with a smile on my face and warm feeling in my heart.

As I ran below Walpi  stepping over thousands of shards of clay pottery  long abandoned.  I saw a few kids in diapers on the top of the mesa waving at me. I responded back like an air traffic controller  whom had had way too much caffeine.  The kids began to jump up and down with excitement.
(It was a great moment to be alive. )
Near the end of the run I saw Bucky the race director sitting under a tree content with all his hard work.  I thanked him for sharing his trails with me and I was off to the finish my journey

The rest of the run went by faster than I would have liked.  It may have been the first time during an Ultra I was actually bummed to see the finish line.
Maybe it's time to rethink why  I run?
I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to win a race
yhe goal should not merely be getting to the finish line. The goal should be to embrace and enjoy the journey that get's you there.

Now back to my photos.

Aye Cabron Maria
Maria's adventure was much different than mine 
Dramatic reenactment of prior events

Early in the race just outside a cemetery Maria passed out in the sun.  She was found laying then sand unconscious and immediately taken to the local hospital for an I.V. (yikes)  An hour later out of later she came jogging back to the race finish line feeling great. I was amazed at how good she looked and very happy that she was okay.
Hopi lunch
It's really cool to see the local's come out and run
 Traditional hopi style Huaraches
out of the 62 finishers I think 12 were in Luna sandals and another 4 people ran in home made Huaraches.
 Ted decided not to run the race and go on a walk about instead only drinking water from sacred springs.
(Ted exemplifies a person who follows his own bliss.)
Love Ya Ted
Mas Loco Mike Miller CO strolled in about a second behind Lola who ran the entire 31 miles.

Here comes Pat and Bookis both In Luna's
this what happens when a crappy photographer takes a picture of his buddy doing a cartwheel at the finish line.
Well done Boogar
It was Pat's 2nd 50km  ever and both were done in Luna sandals
Maria you are one tough Butterfly
My new friend John McClung finished his first Ultra.  Guess what he wore. :)
(and because I'm too lazy to tell the tale of Hopi Peoples running History here's take)
Mas Loco's
To the random hot chick right after finishing the race in her Luna Sandals.
Go Jess
I love the smile.   Every time I see you, you seem too look younger and more beautiful
oh yeah and nice sandals too.
This chick ran the race in homemade motorcycle tire Huaraches.
Can you say "Kick Ass?"
Mike said it was the first award he ever got in race with more than two people.
(I wonder who he beat the other time j/k)
Kermit walked away with bowl made from the Yucca tree, a traditional award for Hopi runners
(I got one last year and use it everyday as a fruit basket)

It's OVER 90 degrees outside and I couldn't be happier to receive and be wrapped inside this giant blanket
My bed is gonna be a lot warmer this winter.
This dude came in second in his very first Ultra.  He didn't run the race in Luna's but told me that he wished he had because of the amount of sand he had too dump out of  his shoes.
Thank you the Luna sandal company, all my fellow lunatics and mas loco's for being such awesome people.
Thank you to Bucky Preston and all the volunteers who made this race possible.  It was truly an honor to run  on your trails.  The kindness shared by the Hopi people with everyone at this event was really a special thing to be a part of.

I am already looking forward to next year
Time to to head back home

GuadajukoJust grins


  1. You held it until after the race? It must be nice to have that choice!
    Great report,as usual.

  2. It looks like a great trip also the running but beach, running, party and drinks are the great combinations that I need so bad. Run away from work.